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The No Carb Diet - Effective But Recommended?

An In-Depth Look

There is absolutely no doubt that the no carb diet (or very low carb) causes rapid weight loss. The reason why it's so effective for losing weight is because it puts your body into a caloric deficit (burn more calories than you consume). Anytime you put your body into a caloric deficit you're going to lose weight, period.

But what are the pros and cons of the no carb diet? What does a no carb diet meal look like? Is it recommended?

The answer to these questions is the subject of this article.

For the purposes of this article, "no carb" and "very low carb" are synonymous. It's almost impossible to eat a truly no carb diet. Generally a no carb and very low carb diet are the same, both recommending less than 30 grams (g) of carbohydrates per day. So in this article, they're both interchangeable.

No carb diets are characterized by high protein, high fat, and very low carbohydrates.

Examples of low carb diets are the Atkins Diet, Protein Power and Carbohydrates Addicts' Diet. The Atkins Diet is easily the most popular of the three diets. According to the Atkins diet, carbohydrates are bad, and eating large amounts of fat is good. This whole goal of the Atkins Diet, and other low carb diets, is to bring the body into ketosis. Ketosis occurs when the body doesn't get enough glucose (sugar) from carbs for energy, so it turns to fat for glucose instead. The Atkins Diet believes that ketosis is not harmful to the body.

There is a ton of evidence disproving the claims made by the Atkins diet, such as eating large amounts of fat is good, and ketosis is good for the body. You will learn the health benefits and pitfall of the no carb diet in the pros and cons section below.

Sample of A Very Low Carb Diet

To give you an idea of what a very low carb diet looks like, here's a sample of a daily meal plan from the book, Carbohydrate Addict's Lifespan Program:

Breakfast: Omelet + Bacon + Coffee
Lunch: Ceasar Salad + Garlic and Green Beans + Hamburgers with Dill + Water
Dinner: Cucumber Salad + Green Beans + Peppercorn Tuna + Crescent Rolls + Butter + Creme Brulee + Fruit + Beverage

Pros and Cons of Very Low Carb Diets

  • Lose weight fast (from water, fat and muscle loss)
  • Improvement in insulin management (although likely due to weight loss, not from change in composition)
  • Regulate blood sugar levels
  • Goes against the advice of government and professional organizations (they recommend 200g-300g of carbs daily)
  • Increase risk of dehydration (the process of ketosis requires water resulting in dehydration)
  • Could negatively affect childrens' learning ability (brain is fueled by carbs)
  • High fat diets put the dieter at risk for heart disease, high blood cholesterol and high blood fat (hyperlipidemia)
  • May increase risk of cancer, according to the University of Kentucky
  • Diet likley won't get the adequate nutrients needed from nutrient-rich starches (vitamin supplementation is needed)
Note: Many people believe that high protein diets are bad for the kidneys; however, I disagree, as does my father, a physician of over 48 years. There are accurate studies that have found that protein may actually be beneficial for reducing blood pressure and deaths via strokes. Research has suggested that people with bad kidneys to begin with should not go on a high protein diet, but adults with healthy kidneys are not affected. I myself have been on a high protein diet (1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight) for over 12 years now, and I've had my GFR levels checked recently and they're 100% normal. Although GFR levels is not the only measure for kidney health, it's a good indicator.

Is The No Carb Diet Recommended?

No. Due to the possible health risks associated higher fat intakes, we do NOT recommend a no carb diet.

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